Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: Guardian of the Farm JJ

19 May 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Collaborations are all the rage in the cigar industry, and Guardian of the Farm joins the party. This Nicaraguan puro was created by Max Fernández (son of Aganorsa S.A. owner Eduardo Fernández) and Kyle Gellis (owner of Warped Cigars). It has garnered much praise. The Apollo (6 x 44) vitola was Cigar Aficionado’s No. 8 cigar for 2017. The JJ (5.25 x 50) begins earthy and strong, with a little back-of-the-throat tickle that, happily, fades quickly. After that, the cigar stays consistent with some pepper, a little cedar, occasional citrus, and sweetness. Smoke production is plentiful, and it burns straight from start to finish. All in all, a most satisfying cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: Time for a Little Cigar Love

14 May 2018

We seem to be living in an age of nearly constant complaint. Dissatisfied with a company? Rip ’em on Yelp. Unhappy with any political situation? Tune in to your favorite cable news channel and watch your adversaries get roasted. Angry with someone? Blast him or her in a Twitter takedown.

Well, I’m here to go in the other direction. Let’s raise a glass to cigar manufacturers and toast the quality of their work. I think the caliber of cigar-making may be the highest it’s been in a long, long time. It’s certainly seems to me to be the best since I began regularly smoking cigars more than 15 years ago.

Back then, it was not all that uncommon to run across a plugged stick. Or one that burned terribly unevenly. Or one that wouldn’t really burn at all. Other problems included things like finding a thick stem rolled in with the filler leaves or a bunch so loose the burn became both ridiculously rapid and disgustingly hot.

Now, frankly, I can’t recall the last time I had a cigar that didn’t perform at least adequately.

Of course, this is just my opinion, based on my experiences. I do smoke a lot of different cigars because of StogieGuys.com, though I have to admit my selections rarely include really cheap smokes, bundles, or bargain-basement house brands.

But even when I do try one of those, I usually find the draw and burn quite acceptable. Case in point was a recent house blend I tried from one of the major mail-order operations.

I thought it was awful. So bad, in fact, that I only smoked about a third before tossing it aside. That was because I didn’t like the flavor, the harshness, and the finish, not because its combustion properties weren’t up to snuff.

There are probably a lot of reasons for the wide-ranging improvements, and those in the trade would obviously be better able to elucidate them than me. But I can say that, to me, it is certainly a positive sign that the industry continues on an upward path.

All in all, a great reason to celebrate with a great cigar.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Nat Sherman Metropolitan Habano Toro

29 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Nat Sherman Walk-In Humidor

Introduced a couple years ago to update Nat Sherman’s Metropolitan series that dates to the 1990s cigar boom, the Habano is a stronger Nicaraguan puro. It makes that heritage known quickly with a spicy start. That continues to dominate through the first half and then becomes mixed with some sweetness and a bit of nuts and wood. Rolled by Plascencia, construction and draw are excellent. Priced at about $7, the Toro (6 x52) is well worth picking up.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: La Palina Bronze Label Robusto

23 Apr 2018

The new La Palina Bronze Label made the journey from a 2017 limited edition to a 2018 regular line without missing a beat, though it did give up the foot band that previously identified it as an exclusive for Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) shops.

The line also stands out among La Palina offerings for its strong Honduran profile. Not only does it feature a Honduran Habano wrapper, Honduran binder, and a mix of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler, but the Bronze Label is rolled at El Paraíso, a large factory near the border with Nicaragua.

Those roots are evident from the start, with the wrapper giving off a nutty aroma often associated with Honduran tobacco. The cap is deep and nicely applied, allowing for a smooth cut.

The cigar’s strength is in the medium range, and it presents an interesting, enjoyable experience. It kicks off with a tangy citrus taste that quickly mingles with some woody notes. As it burns down, there’s a bit of spice, likely from the Nicaraguan filler, and notes of cedar at different points.

I smoked several in the Robusto size, a 5.5-inch stick with a ring gauge of 50. Construction and performance were excellent in each one.

The line now includes two other sizes: the original TAA Toro (6.5 x 52) and a Gordo (6 x 60). The Robusto costs $8.99.

The Bronze Label is another mark in the evolution of Bill Paley’s resurrection of his grandfather’s 19th-century La Palina cigar company. The new operation began in 2010 with an ultra-high end—and high dollar—cigar rolled for Paley by Graycliff in the Bahamas.

The boutique brand has continued to expand, using other factories and becoming a strong presence on cigar retailers’ shelves.

I recommend you give the Bronze Label a shot. While the profile isn’t one I’d want to smoke all the time, it offers a pleasant, enticing smoke that seems to get better with each cigar. As such, I rate the La Palina Bronze Label Robusto a strong four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: La Palina / Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda

21 Apr 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

If appearance were the standard, the Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda (6 x 46) could compete in any contest. Rich, oily Ecuadorian Corojo ’99 wrapper. Perfectly placed triple cap. Nicely done band. Even the first few puffs are pleasing. Unfortunately, the rest of the cigar doesn’t measure up. This was primarily due to a sourness that, while not overwhelming, was too prominent to allow other flavors to make their mark. The sour note also lingered on the finish. I plan to try one or two more in the line, perhaps different sizes, because I feel like there’s promise. But until that promise is better fulfilled, it’s difficult to recommend a buy.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: MBombay Corojo Oscuro Robusto

25 Mar 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

This cigar punches well above its weight. It is strong, flavorful, and satisfying—a complex blend in a slow-burning short robusto format. With a dark, oily wrapper from Ecuador and filler melding Dominican, Ecuadorian, and Peruvian tobaccos, the Corojo Oscuro Robusto (4.5 x 50) retails for $6.99. I experienced an excellent draw and burn, with smoke that was thick and rich. The cigar begins with a bit of char, some cedar, and a long finish. The cedar remained constant throughout, becoming mixed with notes of chocolate, coffee, and a nice tobacco sweetness. All in all, an excellent cigar.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Aladino Robusto

24 Mar 2018

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Described as a “classic old fashioned cigar” by Julio R. Eiroa, Aladino makes full use of Honduran-grown Corojo tobacco, the wrapper leaf once used extensively in Cuba. It makes for an interesting medium-strength smoke. The predominant flavors are a moderate level of spice and natural tobacco sweetness. Along the way, I also found some charred wood, nuts, and a little leather. Aladino comes in many sizes, each said to be blended for a somewhat different strength level. The Robusto (5 x 50) sells for about $10.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys